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Dr Silvia Camporesi

Education/Academic qualification

  • Doctor of Philosophy, King's College London

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Milan

  • Master of Science, University of Bologna


Biographical details

Originally trained as a biotechnologist (2006, MSc Medical Biotechnology, University of Bologna), aSilvia left her work at the bench after working for a period at the International Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology in Triest to pursue a PhD in ‘Foundations and Ethics of the Life Sciences’, a joint program of  the European School of Molecular Medicine  and the University of Milano (2007-2010). In parallel to her Biotechnology studies, she was a honour student of the Institute of Advanced Education at the University of  Bologna, which provided an extracurricular interdisciplinary education in the social and political sciences, and in arts and humanities.

In the fall of 2009 Silvia spent a period as a visiting PhD student at the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda (US). At that time Silvia was sponsored by an ICRETT Transfer of Knowledge fellowship awarded by the Union for International Cancer Control, to research the ethical and regulatory issues of Phase cancer 0 trials, which became the topic of her dissertation (a review of which can be read here).

In October 2010 Silvia moved to London to pursue a second PhD in Philosophy of Medicine based at the interdisciplinary Centre for the Humanities & Health. Her PhD research was sponsored by a Wellcome Trust fellowship and focused on a comparative of analysis genetic technologies applied in the reproductive context to choose children’s traits, and in the elite sport context to enhance athletic performance. Silvia completed her second PhD in October 2013 with a dissertation titled “From bench, to bedside, to track & field: the context of enhancement and its ethical relevance". Her PhD thesis has been published as a volume  for the University of California Medical Humanities Book Series in September 2014, with same title.

During the academic year of 2010/11 Silvia was a visiting scholar at the Department Anthropology, History and Social Medicine at the University of California San Francisco. At UCSF Silvia worked on a project on gene transfer as applied to enhance athletic performance, under the supervision of Professor Dorothy Porter. 

Silvia joined the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine (formerly, Social Science, Health & Medicine) at King’s College London in October 2013 as Lecturer in Bioethics & Society. Since January 2015 she has acted as Director of the Bioethics & Society Master’s programme at King's College London.

In June 2015 Silvia received a prestigious KCL Teaching Excellence Award, for which she was nominated in 2016 and 2017 (she was on parental leave in 2018).

In March 2018 she published her second book for Routledge, co-authored with Mike McNamee from Swansea University, and titled "Bioethics, Genetics and Sport". The book has been described as "The first book to be published on this important subject in more than a decade" and "written by two of the world's leading authorities on the ethics of biotechnology in sport".

Silvia is continuing to research on ethics of emerging technologies, with a focus on applications to reproduction and human performance/sport.


Research interests

Silvia’s research interests lie at the intersection of biomedical technologies, ethics and society, with a focus on genetic technologies. She has published more than 30 papers in peer-reviewed journals, with a number of citations higher than 1,200 (updated December 2018) and a h index of 13 (google scholar, also December 2018). Her publications span a variety of topics, from the  ethics of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis to choose genetic traits, to the ethics of human-animal hybrid embryos, to brain imaging to measure chronic pain and its use as evidence in the courtroom. Since 2008 Silvia has also published extensively in the nascent field of sport medicine ethics: from the controversy over Oscar Pistorius’ participation as an able-bodied athlete, to Caster Semenya’s case and its aftermath, to genetic technologies applied for enhancement purposes in sport, and direct-to-consumer genetic tests used to scout out children’s talents.

Silvia is interested in supervising postgraduate research students working in the following areas:

  • Application of genetic technologies in reproduction
  • Biomedical Technologies applied for Human Enhancement
  • Ethics and Philosophy of Sport
  • Early Clinical Trials and Human Participation in Research
  • Cultural approaches to Bioethics

Types of Public engagement and outreach - Media article or participation

Participation in Al Jazeera Inside Story

Silvia Camporesi (Speaker)

2 May 2019

Activity: OtherTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Media article or participation

Reviving pig brains - Participation in BBC Inside Science

Silvia Camporesi (Contributor)

18 Apr 2019

Activity: OtherTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Media article or participation

BBC Big Questions 'Is interfering with genes ethical?'

Silvia Camporesi (Contributor)

11 Jun 2017

Activity: OtherTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Media article or participation

Commentary and expert opinion for BBC World News Radio on Dutee Chand’s case:

Silvia Camporesi (Interviewee)

23 Mar 2015

Activity: OtherTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Media article or participation

Dr Silvia Camporesi's interview for the BBC World News on eugenics February 27, 2015

Silvia Camporesi (Interviewee)

27 Feb 2015

Activity: OtherTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Media article or participation

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